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National Salvation Army Week honors Bell County staff, volunteers after year of high demand due to pandemic

Following a year of skyrocketing demand for services like food and rent assistance and homeless shelters, the Salvation Army continues to help the community.

BELL COUNTY, Texas — The Salvation Army of Bell County, along with other centers around the U.S., is celebrating National Salvation Army Week from May 10-16. 

The week was declared by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954, and was originally November 18 through December 4, but is now recognized in May. The Salvation Army has been helping people since 1893, providing food, shelter and many other things to those in need. 

Locally, the organization works to meet the needs of more than 200 individuals and families each moth through the Rapid Rehousing Program, rent, utility assistance program, food pantry, community meals and annual holiday events. 

The Salvation Army of Bell County stepped up to help the community when the COVID-19 pandemic reached Central Texas with its programs, especially the community food pantry and its shelters as residents struggled with food insecurity and homelessness at the height of the pandemic. 

At times, the organization even delivered personal protective equipment to cities across Texas.

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However, the organization also faced its own issues as the organization closed its Killeen family store last May, citing the inability to operate due to the ongoing pandemic at the time. The store, Lt. Aaron Millin said at the time, provided additional funding to community programs but was forced to close as it no longer helped the organization.

The organization also surpassed its normal workloads while helping the community with food assistance as early as April of last year. 

RELATED: CLOSING | Salvation Army Bell County Killeen Family Store holds closing sale

With increased demand fueled by the pandemic and a decrease in regular donations, the Salvation Army even began its iconic Red Kettle Campaign earlier in 2020 to try and close the gap in donations they were receiving. The organization went on with its annual Christmastime campaign to continue supporting families and residents impacted by COVID-19. 

Now, with National Salvation Army Week about to begin, the organization is looking to raise awareness within the surrounding community about its mission and how people can help the Salvation Army help others. 

“National Salvation Army Week presents a wonderful opportunity for us to let the community know more about the work of The Salvation Army in Temple and Bell County,” Lieutenant Davis Beckham, Commanding Officer of The Salvation Army, said. “The last year has been very challenging as we have all dealt with the ongoing pandemic. The Salvation Army has experienced heightened need during this time and has been privileged to support so many in our community. We want to recognize and celebrate the partners, supporters, and volunteers who make the ministry of the Army possible and invite everyone to join us as we celebrate National Salvation Army Week.”

To learn more about the Salvation Army or to make a donation, visiting the organization website, call the Salvation Army of Bell County at 254-774-9996 or visit them at 419 W. Ave. G in Temple.

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